Poor Facebook. Everyone's piling on it this week in light of the report that their Beacon application will broadcast your online purchasing habits to your network of online friends and wilt that big wall of privacy that everyone seems to expect to own in front of their virtual party complexes. Even Syria is casting blame on Facebook for allowing Israeli intelligence to infiltrate their online social networks.
By the way, I'm being partially sarcastic. Also, for the record, I'm not a Facebook hater.
This whole Beacon incident will blow over, but it is another strike against Facebook that will make people think twice about hyping it as the future of social networking or identity on the Internet. You can get away with blunders like this when you're a garage shop operation still experimenting with novel and potentially risky ideas looking for a tech breakthrough, but when you've been rechristened as the Internet's $15 billion dollar gorilla before you've grown up, you may unpleasantly discover that half of your leash has suddenly been yanked away.
Breakthroughs are made by people and organizations that are allowed to experiment and exercise their creativity without boundaries. Facebook is not yet a breakthrough and their premature fame may ultimately stunt the real potential of the company.